Dogs Of InstagramI'm a sucker for dogs: I can't walk past one in the street without stopping and having a conversation, sometimes without bothering to speak to the owners, so a book of pictures of dogs was going to be right up my street. The wildly popular @dogs_of_instagram, run by Ahmed El Shourbagy and his wife Ashley and launched just four years ago gives us this book of over four hundred photographs of dogs. Originally I had no intention of reviewing it: in fact I wasn't even intending to read the book, just to have a quick flick through, but within five minutes I was showing other people in the office the picture of the Weimaraner riding a bicycle.
Then there was the discussion about whether the bitch enjoying a run on the beach is a Hungarian Vizsla or a Rhodesian Ridgeback. It got quite heated, but either way I wanted to bring her home. It might even be the same dog jumping in the edge of the water which you can spot on the front cover. Wow! The photography is superb, but that applies to every picture in the book - I didn't spot one which looked less than professional. Favourite picture? Oh, I couldn't possibly... but you'll find a picture of my favourite dog who isn't on Instagram here.
A pleasing number of the pictures are entirely natural - like the Vizla-no-I'm-sure-it's-a-Ridgeback mentioned above. On the other hand, there are a lot (like the Weimaraner) which are obviously posed (no - I'm pretty certain that he didn't get his back paws onto the saddle and his front feet onto the handlebars without help) and whilst they're clever they're not really to my taste - particularly the ones where the dogs are dressed up. Dolls are made for dressing up, not dogs. I feel embarrassed for the animal when I see them dressed up like Father Christmas or a Maitre d'. That's personal though - and I do accept that it obviously appeals to a lot of people.
I'd love to have known more about the dogs: we get the occasional note which sheds some light on what's happening and occasionally there's a hint as to breed or where the photograph was taken. That's me being picky though - I thoroughly enjoyed looking through the book and it would make a lovely gift for any dog lover.
We've also seen Cats on Instagram by @cats_of_instagram which has all the same qualities but suffers - in my eyes - from the insurmountable disadvantage of not being about dogs. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending copies of both books to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals you might also enjoy Old Dogs by Gene Weingarten and Michael S Williamson (Photographer).